From Hedge Funds to International LGBT Rights: Big Business and the Fight for Equality

In late September, the Human Rights Campaign announced a global corporate coalition to promote LGBT equality in the workplace around the world. Since 2013 the HRC has received corporate assistance to create programs that help fight discrimination worldwide with education and research. A collaboration between the HRC, The Paul E. Singer Foundation, and the Daniel S. Loeb Family Foundation starting in 2013 will be awarding several major grants to the HRC over three years, leading to an increased push in global rights campaigns like this one.

“The challenges the LGBT community faces are acute in many countries, where discrimination takes violent and sometimes deadly forms,” said Dan Loeb. “As we witnessed in its successful campaign to advance marriage equality in the United States, HRC is a uniquely effective organization that achieves what it sets out to do.”

“Every day around the world, LGBT individuals face arrest, imprisonment, torture, and even execution just for being who they are,” said Paul Singer. “As an organization that has been at the forefront of the equality movement for over three decades, the Human Rights Campaign is uniquely positioned to work in tandem with NGOs to empower LGBT and human rights advocates abroad and help stop these abuses.”

Both Loeb and Singer have invested in educating the broader world about LGBT rights. Their donation is being used to provide fellowships at HRC for foreign LGBT advocates, to expose the work of anti-gay organizations across the world, and to leverage relationships with policymakers, faith communities, and other corporations to work together to protect human rights abroad.

These investments culminated in an announcement on September 29, 2015 of the formation of a groundbreaking global coalition that will encourage LGBT workplace equality around the world. The announcement was given at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. The coalition includes companies employing nearly 1.4 million people across more than 190 countries with a combined annual revenue of about $550 billion. These companies have come together to support LGBT equality in their workplaces and to promote equality across the world. The companies involved include Accenture, AT&T, CA Technologies, The Coca-Cola Company, and many more.

“We are proud to bring together some of the world’s largest companies to advance LGBT equality around the globe,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These corporate leaders…understand that equality, inclusion, and engagement are pivotal to business success. Today, they are sending a resounding message that LGBT people are valued, they are equal, and they deserve a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families no matter where they live.”

The announcement comes right before the release of the HRC Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, which measures LGBT workplace inclusion. This year it will include assessments of how multinational companies are treating their LGBT employees.